Jockey Kelly McCulloch is looking forward to taking on a new challenge in the new year.
The Group 2-winning jockey took a step back from race day riding this year to concentrate on her personal training business, but she is now set for a return to the industry.
It will not be in the form of a full-time jockey, but that of a feed company representative.
“I am starting a new job next year as an area manager for Fiber Fresh, so back into the racing scene a little bit,” she said.
“This year I have been working at a gym in Drury as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. I have really enjoyed my time there, but I have had to put it on the backburner for now as this new job was too good to turn down.
“I’ll still keep going to the gym, but I won’t have as much time to train people.”
McCulloch, who studied nutrition at university, said she has enjoyed the change of working environment this year along with utilising the knowledge she acquired earning her degree.
“I did a Bachelor of Science at Massey (University) and majored in nutrition. I’ve been full-on with racing for however long, so it was quite good to take a step back and do something else for a little while.”
While McCulloch has enjoyed her time as a jockey, she believes it is the right time in her life for a change in direction.
“The thing with racing and being a jockey, it’s a great job but I didn’t want to get to the age of 50 or 60 and try and make a career change,” she said.
“It’s a job with an age barrier on it really, so I wanted to get something else behind me. I could go back to riding, but at this stage I just want to focus on a career that is a little more sustainable.”
While working at the gym, McCulloch has continued to ride work in the mornings for local trainer Richard Collett and she will make her third race day appearance this season at Counties on Wednesday when she wears his colours aboard Alternative Fact.
The four-year-old mare will jump from barrier four in the Haunui Farm 1400 and McCulloch believes she will appreciate the track conditions, which were rated a Slow7 on Tuesday.
“She’ll like the little bit of rain around. She’s had one trial and is reasonably fit, but she will possibly benefit from the run though,” McCulloch said.
“She’s not much of a trackworker, her work has been okay. She’ll be just a good one to kick around really.”
McCulloch said she will look to continue riding as much as she can next year, but will be giving her full attention to her new role.
“If time allows I will, but I suspect it will be quite full-on, especially getting going in this new role.”